Continuing our series on Safety Myths – see them all here
The BBS Myth (https://safetyrisk.net/is-bbs-credible/) is founded on the erroneous assumptions of behaviourism.
Behaviourism is an antiquated idea developed in the 1930s based on simplistic binary notions of humans as objects (https://safetyrisk.net/more-safety-code-to-disguise-behaviourism/), as binary inputs and outputs.
You can read more about Safety’s love affair with the Behaviourism Myth here:
You can recognise Behaviourism easily by Linguistic and Critical Discourse Analysis. Just look at the language in any safety discourse and see what is spoken and what is unspoken.
Listen for the noise in BBS about: objects, hazards, controls, measurement, performance, controls, systems and controls, procedures, controls, reporting, Technique, controls, process, rules, harnessing, capacity, responsibilities and controls, it’s deafening.
This behaviourist message is common to Hopkins (‘structure creates culture’ WTF!), Busch (2021, p.169), Dekker (people should be ‘harnessed’), Hollnagel (resilience engineering), Conklin (‘context drives behaviour’), McSween (the whole book (2003) is toxic), Geller (god bless DuPont) and Cooper (1998, p13-15) but there are many others.
In all these, there is simply no discourse on ethics, persons, caring or helping! Regardless of the brand.
Ah, good olde Safety, if you want to know about learning, care and culture, ask a mechanical engineer.
BBS is the love-child of safety. What better way to brutalise, dehumanise and police others in the name of good than this miserable and bankrupt philosophy. This is why Safety adores a deontological ethic (https://safetyrisk.net/podcast-ethos-and-ethics-in-risk/). This is why Safety has no imagination other retreating to more of the same (Busch 2021, p.169). Now there’s thought leadership. When you don’t know what to do, and don’t seek Transdisciplinary learning, regurgitate more of the same.
It is from this bankrupt foundation that Behaviourism puts culture in the too hard basket and advocates silence (https://safetyrisk.net/do-not-go-gently-spor-and-the-civility-myth/) as the best approach to learning and culture.
Nothing is more entertaining than this amateur approach to tackling the wickedity of culture and risk. Nothing is more amusing than this mono-disciplinary goop that regurgitates within itself to substantiate what it knows.
Just pick up any safety book and see where it anchors its discourse, in more safety ideology (https://safetyrisk.net/spor-ideology-and-safety-myth/).
Look for any BBS discourse and see what you can find about: persons, listening, risk, ethics, care, helping, community, embodied learning, Socilaitie, Mentalitie, Mind, the unconscious, Transdisciplinarity, mystery, discovery, wisdom, ritual, gesture, semiotics, semiosphere, Poetics, Linguistics, para-linguistics, archetypes, social contract, politik and fallibility. It’s not there.
So much is available to Safety to learn how to humanise risk but it shows little interest in learning outside its small mono-disciplinary bubble.
With little imagination constrained by a compliance Mentalitie, all Safety can do it go back to more of the same.
This is why Safety loves the bow-tie myth, swiss-cheese, dominoes, curves and pyramids. All linear, all in and out, all inputs and outputs, focused on numerics, metrics and behaviours.